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Oregon senators approve $5 million for PacWave

The proposed Energy and Water 2019 spending bill, which allots $5 million for the development of PacWave national wave energy test site, has passed the full senate in Oregon.

The bill, announced by senators Jeff Merkley, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Ron Wyden, passed the full senate on September 12, 2018, and will be heading to the US House of Representatives for a vote.

If passed, the bill which appropriates $5 million for wave energy development, and $46 million for energy storage research and development, among other provisions, will be sent to the president to be signed into law.

The Oregon State University’s wave energy test facility – named PacWave – will be the first in-water, grid-connected wave energy test facility in the country that will work on advancing the technology that has the potential to provide long-term, clean energy source.

When it comes to energy storage, the bill justifies the proposed funding stating it would ensure greater stability, reliability, and resilience of the US electricity grid as the country deploys and integrates more renewable energy.

Jeff Merkley said: “Fighting for Oregon’s priorities is my top responsibility as a member of the Appropriations Committee. From preventing the sale of Bonneville Power Administration and other public assets, to investing in innovative renewable energy like solar and wave, to supporting the coast’s small ports, this bill contains provisions that improve Oregon’s economies, quality of life, and future.”

As reported earlier, Oregon State University purchased a five-acre parcel along the central Oregon coast that will be the shore-based facility for converting wave energy captured from a test site to be located about seven miles offshore into utility-grid accessible power.

The PacWave project – also known under its former name of Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site (PMEC-SETS) – will offer four testing berths will be able to accommodate 5-6 wave energy converters, according to the Energy Department.

The test site, backed with $35 million from the United States Department of Energy, will be located on a sandy-bottomed stretch of the Pacific Ocean away from popular commercial and recreational fishing reefs, and outside of recognized shipping and towing lanes.

PacWave site will be able to generate as much as 20MW of electricity in its testing berths, and is expected to formally open for business in the 2021–2022 timeframe.